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MLB Pipeline new top 30 for Aug 2022

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Green’s pick may have been polarizing, but the MLBpipeline staff is not concerned, ranking him immediately #2 in the system. Photo via districtondeck.com

The MLB pipeline team (Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, etc) has just released an updated version of the top 30 for all teams, and instead of just plugging in trade acquisitions and 2022 draft picks, they’ve also taken the time to adjust players up/down based on their 2022 seasons. So this is a refreshing look at where we are right now as a system without having to make excuses for odd rankings that date to last off-season.

The Nats now have four players in the top 100 of all of baseball:

  • #23 Hassell
  • #29 Green
  • #35 Wood
  • #58 Cavalli

Abrams has just graduated. Cavalli was ranked #53 in July and has gotten bumped a bit (probably to make room for 2022 top-end draftees). However, House was ranked #53 in July by this squad and has now gotten knocked entirely out of the top 100 thanks to an injury filled 2022 and the influx of a ton of 2022 draftees. That’s a huge move down for House, who this same group had ranked as high as #44 in May of 2022.

Anyway, lets look at the Nats top 30. Here’s the full list, with some comments below:

mlbp rankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1Hassell IIIRobertOF (CF)
2GreenElijahOF (CF)
3WoodJamesOF (Corner)
4CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
5HouseBradySS/3B
6HenryColeRHP (Starter)
7VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
8SusanaJarlinRHP (Starter)
9BennettJakeLHP (Starter)
10De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
11CruzArmandoSS
12RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
13LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
14CarrilloGerardoRHP (Starter)
15LileDaylenOF (CF)
16QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
17LipscombTrey3B
18RamirezAldoRHP (Starter)
19AntunaYaselSS/OF (Corner)
20WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
21CoxBrennerOF (CF)
22McKenzieJaredOF (CF)
23FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)
24BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
25CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
26PinedaIsraelC
27ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
28InfanteSamuelSS
29LeeEvanLHP (Starter)
30MillasDrewC

Thoughts/comments on the guys who have moved up or down significantly, as well as general comments.

  • 8 of our top 30 are newly acquired: 3 from the big SDP trade, 5 from the draft.
  • A comment here; if MLBpipeline has ranked our top 5 draft picks from 2022 … why would Baseball America have only ranked one of them? MLBpipeline has our 2nd rounder Jake Bennett ranked as the 9th best guy in the system; BA didn’t even have him in their top 30. I could understand not quibbling/splitting hairs on guys in the 20s, but Bennett is a significant prospect.
  • Green comes in at #2 from the start. By way of comparison, Fangraphs has him #8 in the system.
  • They’ve jumped up Jeremey De La Rosa 6 slots from just two weeks ago, despite his slow start in High-A. But this is recognition of his dominance of low-A as a 20yr old. We don’t talk about De La Rosa a lot, but the guy could be a sneaky good prospect for us, combining power (10 homers in 63 games in Low-A this year) with speed (26 SBs in that same period) and defense (a true CF, though with a ton of errors and few assists).
  • Cristian Vaquero has stayed at #7 despite getting “layered” by a few prospects above him entering, meaning they’ve increased his rank. I’m not entirely sure why; he’s got kind of middling DSL stats this year, has hit just one homer in 50 games, and his slugging is lower than his OBP. The guy is 6’3″ … where’s the power? He has almost no XBHs all year.
  • They’ve dropped Rutledge a few spots, from #6 to #12. Finally recognizing that this guy may just not have it to be a starter. He’s just too inconsistent. One night he’s giving up 4 hits through 8, the next he’s giving up 8 runs through 4.
  • They’ve jumped up Roismar Quintana a bunch of slots; he’s had a very solid FCL season slashing .315/.367/.481 as a 19yr old. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere for him to go, because the low-A outfield consists of White, De La Cruz, and Wood, with McKenzie trying to find ABs. This is a prime example of why teams really could use those short-season A squads. Not to mention the fact that there’s now (if the Big Board is accurate) 48 players on the FCL roster.
  • Yasel Antuna now down to #19. Thank gosh the team has all sorts of 4-A/veteran MLFA types on the 40-man, because Antuna’s spot should have long ago gotten cleared. This didn’t stop the team from promoting him to AA this week, which seems to be kind of “social promotion” to cover for a cascading set of moves freeing up LF spots at AA and AAA.
  • T.J. White moving up; now #20 from #27.
  • Our 3rd, 4th and 5th rounders (who BA couldn’t find room for) are ranked 17th, 21st and 22nd in the system as they start to slot in.
  • Matt Cronin and Mitchell Parker both take dives in the rankings, due to layering and performance.

The following guys were bumped entirely off the top 30:

  • Brandon Boissiere: was #19, that’s a big drop. He’s just not doing anything special in AA while playing primarily 1B.
  • Donovan Casey: was #21, then got DFA’d, unclaimed and was outrighted. That’s … not good for your career.
  • Jackson Cluff: was #24, and we’ve had discussions questioning why he’s ranked in the first place. He’s the backup SS in Harrisburg and is hitting .191 this season.
  • Dustin Saenz: was #25, hasn’t done anything wrong; he earned a promotion to High-A but has struggled since.
  • Jordan Barley: was #28. You can’t hit .203 and be a prospect.
  • Mason Denaburg: was #29. Hey, at least he’s pitching. he’s made 10 starts for low-A with decent numbers so far.
  • Jake Irvin: was #30. I’m happy with his numbers in AA this year; again nothing earth shattering but after not pitching an inning since 2019 this is solid.

Written by Todd Boss

August 17th, 2022 at 9:39 am

Posted in Prospects

Post-Draft/Post-Trade Prospect Ranking Impacts

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Three of the main scouting bureaus (MLBPipeline, Baseball America, Fangraphs) have plugged in d the haul from the Soto/Bell deal (and two of them have also added in our draft class), so lets take a quick peek at where our newly acquired players rank.

Note: C.J. Abrams has not technically exhausted his rookie status (he has 139PAs but only 125 official At Bats, which is what the guidelines are based on). As a result, he’s on some lists but not others.


Fangraphs adds our top 5 drafted players in 2022, plus 4 newly acquired prospects via trade.

  • C.J. Abrams, our new #1 overall prospect, who was in the majors and will soon graduate off this list, but he reported to AAA to work on some stuff before likely returning in September when rosters expand.
  • Robert Hassell III, our new #3 prospect per fangraphs (though other shops have him higher, see below). He’ll report to our High-A.
  • James Woods, our new #4 prospect per Fangraphs; he should head to Fredericksburg to join the monster roster there (which now includes our 2018 1st rounder Denaburg, our 2019 1st Rounder Rutledge, our 2021 1st rounder in House, our 2020 2nd rounder Infante and our 2021 3rd rounder Boissiere. That’s a lot of top drafted talent.
  • Elijah Green: new #8 prospect. Upon his drafting he slotted in at #5 initially, just behind the “big 3” and also just behind Cuban IFA monster Vaquero (who, I might add, is not exactly tearing up the DSL right now in his first pro season). However he’s now pushed down by the above 3 players.
  • Jarlin Susana now slots in at #10, and should head to our FCL with an idea of moving to Low-A soon.
  • Jake Bennett slots in at #12. Upon his drafting he slotted in at #8, in-between Rutledge (who still cannot get people out in Low-A) and Carrillo (who i’m beginning to worry about from a progression stand point).
  • Trey Lipscomb slots in at #21, pushed down 4 spots from his initia #17 spot, right after Lile (who is out for the entirety of 2022), and right before fellow infielders Infante and Alu interestingly. Infante is showing some power this year in Low-A but otherwise hitting .220, while Alu has a .800 OPS in AAA as a 25-yr old but falls into the “utility infielder” category of prospects, with a high floor to make the majors but a limited ceiling.
  • Brenner Cox slots in at #30, pushed down from #26 a few weeks ago, right behind former 1st rounder Denaburg but ahead of fellow OF prospect Quintana. Cox got paid like a 3rd rounder but was not really ranked by any of the pundits, which gives me some pause.
  • Jared McKenzie slots in at #36 (initially #32), right after Quintana and just ahead of org guys/barely prospects like Fox and Baker. I suppose this is right; if McKenzie turns into anything other than an org guy as a 5th rounder it’ll be found gold.

So, per Fangraphs we’ve acquired our new #1, #3, #4, #8, and #10 system prospects.


How about per MLBpipeline.com? They lagged updating the prospect ranks for 2022 draftees for a bit, but did rank the trade acquisitions immediately. Here’s where our trade acquisitions now slot in:

  • C.J. Abrams: Not ranked; perhaps MLBpipeline is assuming he’s exhausted his eligibility.
  • Robert Hassell III: new #1 prospect
  • James Woods: new #4 prospect
  • Jarlin Susana: new #8 prospect

Odds are that when they add in our draftees, Green would slot in probably between #6 and #7, and Bennett would slot into the teens. Its doubtful they’d rate Lipscomb, Cox, or McKenzie for our top 30 right now.


How about BaseballAmerica? They posted updated rankings on 8/10/22. Per BA:

  • C.J. Abrams: new #1 prospect
  • Robert Hassell III: new #2 prospect
  • James Woods: new #3 prospect
  • Elijah Green: new #4 prospect
  • Jarlin Susana: new #8 prospect

Unlike Fangraphs, BA chose not to rank any of the rest of our 2022 drafting class:

  • Jake Bennett: this one is pretty amazing to me. Fangraphs had him top 10! And he’s not good enough for our top 30 per BA?
  • Trey Lipscomb: BA has Infante ranked 20th right now. I’m pretty sure Infante just lost his starting 3B job in High-A to … Lipscomb. So, maybe Lipscomb should be ranked and Infante not.
  • Brenner Cox: Probably not going to quibble about a prep kid just drafted not being ranked in the top 30.
  • Jared McKenzie: Upper 30s for Fangraphs, which means he’s nowhere near the BA top 30 right now.

So, per BA we’ve acquired our new top 4 system prospects, plus the 8th in Susana.

Interestingly, BA also took the opportunity to shake up some of their ranks a bit from their last ranking on 7/13/22.

  • They’ve bumped up Jeremey De la Rosa 5 spots
  • They’ve dropped Andry Lara 6 spots
  • They dropped Rutledge a grand total of 1 spot.
  • … Which makes no sense: Lara and Rutledge have almost identical stats this year in Low-A; Eras of 5.48 and 5.54, WHIPs of 1.46 and 1.47. Lara has more Ks but also more Walks, while Rutledge has a much worse BAA of .290 to Lara’s .252. Lara is 19, while Rutledge is 23. So, the 23yr old gets dropped one spot for having WORSE numbers in Low-A than the 19yr old?? Really?
  • They’ve bumped up Henry a couple spots
  • They’ve dropped Carrillo a couple slots
  • they’ve dropped $3.9M bonus baby Armando Cruz two spots.
  • They’ve dropped Antuna a couple spots; he’s now ranked #14 in the system. Still. So we’re on the same page, Antuna is 22, in High-A, hitting .234 while repeating the level and is still somehow ranked 14th in the system. At least he’s not top 5 any more.
  • they’ve got Donovan Casey 25th; whoops. He got DFA’d this week.

Written by Todd Boss

August 11th, 2022 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Prospects

Fangraphs/Longenhagen top 29 Nats Prospects

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So … even though its (checks calendar) July, Fangraphs just released its “Top 29 Nats prospects for 2022” ranking. Today its the featured story at Fangraphs, along with the side-eye tag line of “This is one of the worst farm systems in baseball.” So, thanks for that!

I suspect Eric Longenhagen got a little too busy this year, and a ranking that he released in April last year got pushed to mid-season. We’re now basically half way through (or more) of the minor league season and are getting a pre-season ranking list … so it kind of feels silly to analyze it. However it does seem like Longenhagen has taken some 2022 production into account here. Either way, I love prospect ranks and collect every one into a huge spreadsheet, and have for years, and I like writing these reaction pieces … so here goes.

His list, start to finish:

Last NameFirst NamePositionRank
CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)1
HenryColeRHP (Starter)2
HouseBradySS/3B3
VaqueroCristianOF (CF)4
De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)5
RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)6
CarrilloGerardoRHP (Starter)7
CruzArmandoSS8
IrvinJakeRHP (Starter)9
RamirezAldoRHP (Starter)10
MillasDrewC11
WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)12
LaraAndryRHP (Starter)13
LileDaylenOF (CF)14
InfanteSamuelSS15
AluJake3B16
LeeEvanLHP (Starter)17
BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)18
AbbottCory?19
AdonJoanRHP (Starter)20
ShumanSethRHP (Starter)21
PinedaIsraelC22
DenaburgMasonRHP (Starter)23
PerezFrancisco?24
CroninMattLHP (Reliever)25
ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)26
QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)27
FerrerJoseLHP (Reliever)28
FoxLuciusSS29

Longenhagen has long been a maverick in his rankings for prospects, and you can see it here. He’s big on younger players and he’s got a ton of experience in the Dominican market. He absolutely values ceiling more than floor, and has no problem putting 17yr-olds with scant experience high on these lists. There’s a number of player rankings here way out of line with other pundits (some that I agree with, others not). So, lets highlight some of the interesting placements.

  • He goes Cavalli, Henry, House as his top 3, omitting the rookie-exhausted Ruiz from this list. This kind of goes against the trend of pundits putting House at #1, and part of it could be the slight stagnation we’ve seen out of House in Low-A (he exploded out of the gates in April, then crashed in May, and his June numbers are mediocre, and now he’s on the DL).
  • Vaquero comes in 4th, and Longenhagen gushes over his performance at pre-draft camps in comparison to his fellow 17yr olds last year. Notably, I discovered that i’ve been misspelling Vaquero’s first name everywhere (Its Cristhian, not Cristian or Christian or Christhian). Vaquero so far is underwhelming in the DSL, “only” slashing .257/.329/.686 with almost no power (just four XBH and zero homers in 20 games). So, lets hope for more.
  • De la Rosa at #5. Wow; he’s high man here. De La Rosa may have been this high in pre-2021 lists, but he, well, he sucked in 2021 (.209/.279/.316 in Low-A, albeit in his age 19 season. Luckily, De la Rosa has been much, much better in 2022 in Low-A (.310/.392/.481), showing solid power to go with a 50-steal pace. So, yeah, this now looks like a good ranking. And a good player to keep an eye on as a true CF with 20/20 capabilities apparently.
  • Rutledge still too high for me at #6, but its in line with other pundits. Rutledge seems to have turned things around (finally) in Low-A: his last 6 starts have basically been stellar, and in a couple of cases have been (ahem) dominant-even (6ip, 3 hits, 0 runs in one, 7ip 3 hits, in another)
  • Irvin at #9!! That’s just amazing. The HIGHEST reputable source that had Irvin anywhere close to this high in his entire minor league career was a #10 ranking by BA in 2019 just after he was drafted. But here he is, sitting as a top 10 prospect in our system per Longenhagen. Amazing. And his ranking is paying off: 2022 results: 3.14 ERA, 1.11 whip and exactly 9 K/9 in 13 four-inning starts so far.
  • He’s incredibly high on Millas, putting him #11 in the system and extolling his defensive capabilities. He hasn’t hit though this year (.211), which could put a damper on his promotion going forward.
  • TJ White at #12 is also high man amongst peers, and it confirms what a lot of like about White. He’s just 19, has an OPS north of .800 in low-A, and is holding his own.
  • Andry Lara comes in 10 spots lower than basically every other pundit out there, ranking him #13. Most every other major shop has him #5 or close to it. And I agree; he’s struggled this year. He’s got easy mid-90s velocity but is getting shelled to a 5.60 ERA in low-A right now. Yes he’s young, but he should also be doing better.
  • Jake Alu at #16 … the fact that he’s even ranked is amazing. Nobody else out there has him ranked at all. But Fangraphs thinks he’s a big-league utility guy. He’s 25 in AA, with an OPS at around .800, can play most of the infield positions or even a corner OF. Maybe we’re looking at another Jake Noll here.
  • Cory Abbott comes in at #19; not bad for a waiver claim earlier this year. But also a pretty bad indictment of a system in his mind, where we have not one but two waiver claims listed.
  • Joan Adon at #20. Wow. The kid who made the 2022 opening day rotation is ranked lower in Fangraphs than the waiver claim we made on Abbott earlier this year. Think about that. In the writeup Longenhagen gives out two interesting nuggets: Adon has now lost his rookie status so he’s done being considered for these lists …. and he points out that the Nats brain-trust altered Adon’s arm angle, which easily explains why he posted a 6+ ERA in the majors this year.
  • Matt Cronin dumped way down into the 20s (#25); his reasoning is that Cronin has no 2nd pitch. Which if true … is a problem.
  • A few other interesting names in the 20s to point out: Francisco Perez (last year’s waiver claim) is at #24, Denaburg is here in the mid 20s still, and Jose Ferrer (who I had to look up on the big board) comes in at #28.

Now … what’s really interesting about this list is who is NOT listed here.

  • No Brandon Boissiere; not a huge omission, but most other shops at least put him in their 20s. Maybe its because he’s hitting near the Mendoza line in Low-A for the second straight season, showing little improvement.
  • No Jackson Cluff. I never got the love for this guy and I still don’t; for his entire career he is slashing .206/.299/.312 … and his AA numbers this year are even worse than that. Even if he’s the second coming of Ozzie Smith, you gotta at least hit a little to get to the majors.
  • Daniel Marte; completely missing. As he probably should be; he’s now hitting below .200 while repeating the FCL and you have to wonder how much longer he has with the organization. He was a reasonably expensive IFA ($300k in 2018) so he’ll get some rope. By way of comparison, that’s the exact same amount that De la Rosa got in the same year.
  • No Mendoza; no surprise here. What a regression for Mendoza. He had an 1.100 OPS his junior year at Florida State and a career .674 OPS with wood professionally.
  • Tim Cate: nowhere to be found. Ouch. Our opening day starter in AA in 2021, Mr. Amazing Curve ball that scouts can’t help but rave about, but can he succeed north of A-ball?
  • Donovan Casey; not listed. Perhaps an admission of what he really is; a guy who maxes out at AA. He’s struggling this year in Rochester, and struggled last year upon his AAA promotion.
  • Seth Romero; absent. As he has been for his entire career.
  • Jordy Barley; fangraphs is not impressed. Neither is the Carolina league, where he’s hitting .199 right now.
  • Tres Barrera: not listed, though Millas and Pineda are. Interesting.
  • Last but not least; Yasel Antuna. Nowhere to be found. This is amazing. By way of comparison, Baseball America has him listed as our #3 prospect. #3 overall. Fangraphs couldn’t find room for him in their top 30, and sits behind two waiver claims. You hate to dance on a guy’s grave … but this is where we are with Antuna right now.

Written by Todd Boss

July 6th, 2022 at 11:36 am

Posted in Prospects

2022 Draft Coverage: Early Mock Drafts

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Here’s the first collection of this year’s Mock Drafts.  We usually see the first crazy-early mock just after the 2021 draft (from Baseball America), then again after the end of the 2021 season when the draft order is more or less determined, then it really starts to heat up in April/May.

I’ll keep adding to this list as Mocks come in; they’re generated all the way up to the day of the draft by the major pundits.  If i’m missing a ranking here, please let me know. I generally try to capture every mock from a handful of credible scouting websites: Baseball America, MLBpipeline, Keith Law/The Athletic, Kiley McDaniel/ESPN, and Eric Longenhagen/Fangraphs. I also try to include CBSSports/Mike Axisa and D1Baseball folks because they have good insight. I generally do NOT include fan-boy team-blog mock drafts that just arbitrarily pick players without any insight that the professionals do, nor do I put much credence into fantasy site-driven mocks.


Here’s the Mock draft collection.  The Nats pick at #5 this year, so no need to scan down and project deep into the 1st.  This year i’m ordering them Chronologically as rec’d instead of grouping by pundit…. this should let us see kind of an evolution of the top of the draft.  Players are bolded the first time they’re mentioned, not again afterwards.

  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) Way too Early 2022 Mock, 7/14/21, done the day after the 2021 draft. top 5: Elijah Green, Jace Jung, Brooks Lee, Kevin Pareda, Terrmar Johnson. I have to admit … this mock is darn accurate to what the pundits continue to predict 10 months later. Bravo.
  • MLBpipeline (Jonathan Mayo): Top 20 projected 2022 Mock 7/22/21: Green, Dylan Lesko, Jacob Berry, Jackson Ferris, Johnson.
  • MLBpipeline (Jim Callis) top 10 Mock Draft 2022 published 12/16/21: Johnson, Druw Jones, Berry, Lee. Nats take Green. First mention of Druw Jones, who only continued to rise from here on out.
  • Baseball America (Carlos Collazo) v1.0 Mock Draft 2/11/22: Jones, Johnson, Green, Lee, Nats take Berry.
  • Baseball America (Collazo) 2.0 Mock draft 4/1/22: Jones, Lee, Lesko, Johnson, Nats take Green.
  • Baseball America (Collazo and an anonymous industry insider) Mock Draft 3.0. 4/28/22: Lee, DJones, Green, Lesko. Nats get Jung.
  • MLBpipeline top 10 Mock draft 5/11/22: Jones, Green, Jackson Holliday, Lee, Nats take Parada.
  • The Athletic (Keith Law) first mock draft 5/18/22: Berry, Jones, Holliday, Lee. Nats take Parada. His thinking; O’s take Berry at 1-1 to save a ton of money (he’s not really projected this high at this point), then use that on a prep kid in the supplemental and 2nd rounds to overpay. Nats reportedly “on Parada” heavily, despite his being a catcher and despite having just acquired what looks to be their starting Catcher for the next 6 years last off-season in Kiebert Ruiz. Repeat after me: you don’t draft in baseball based on what’s on your current MLB roster; you take the best player available, always. Parada might very well be the collegiate player of the year this year, and if he works his way up the minors in 2 years and suddenly you have two starting catchers … you deal with that problem then.
  • MLBPipeline (Callis) Mock Draft May 2022: Holliday, Jones, Parada, Lee. Nats take Elijah Green.
  • Baseball America Mock 4.0 6/2/22: Holliday, Jones, Green, Lee, Nats take Parada. BA notes that the Nats are heavily focused on Parada right now, and take him over Terrmarr Johnson in this scenario.

So, we’re starting to see a pretty clear consensus from the regular mockers.

  1. O’s seem to be going the under-slot deal to save enough money to overpay a prep kid who’s fallen early in round 2 or in the supplemental draft. The O’s pick 1st, 33rd, and 42nd this year, meaning they’ll get basically three “first round” talents out of this draft if they spend wisely.
  2. Arizona/Texas/Pittsburgh then have their choice of the top talents, and those seem to be three of Drew Jones, Jackson Holliday, Brooks Lee, and Elijah Greene.
  3. It seems like most think its going to be Jones, Holliday and Lee, leaving us to choose between Parada and Green.
  4. I’d be ecstatic if Brooks Lee fell to us; he was a mid-1st rounder out of HS, and has only improved since.
  5. Green by most accounts has the “highest upside” in the draft, but is of course 3-4 years away.
  6. Parada at #5, if Lee is gone, seems like the safer/faster pick.
  7. Termarr Johnson is also on the board in most of these mocks, and was projected higher earlier in the season, but he’s a little more risky as a prep SS.
  8. Anyone else would be a reach that the team shouldn’t do.

Written by Todd Boss

June 9th, 2022 at 3:17 pm

June 1st Roster Shakeups

5 comments

So, apparently according to Nats brass, the amount of time a player needs in the minors to completely dominate a level before getting moved up is exactly … 2 months.

Because on June 1st, a number of players who have clearly shown they’re too good for the level they’re currently in were moved up. Lets take a look at some of the more notable prospect moves over the last few days:

Nationals:

  • Called up Evan Lee, gave him his first start
  • Re-called, finally, Luis Garcia after he slashed .314/.368/.531 the first two months in Rochester.

Yes, I know both of these were more about Lee/Garcia covering for injuries, but they were still merit induced and both may actually stick in the majors. Lee’s rotation spot won’t be there for long (not as long as Strasburg is pitching 6 nearly-no-hit innings in AAA), but Josh Rogers just hit the D/L with a very scary sounding “shoulder impingement” injury. We don’t know if this is season-ending, career-ending, or a two week stint. Meanwhile, Garcia steps in for Alcides Escobar, who hit the D/L with a hamstring injury but who probably should just be released after he posted a 61 OPS+ for the first two months.

AAA:

  • Promoted Cole Henry from AA
  • Promoted Matt Brill from AA

Henry was a long time coming; In 7 starts/23 innings, he gave up a grand total of five (5!) hits and had a 28/9 K/BB ratio. Can we please stretch this guy out longer than an 9yr old little league pitch count restriction? Meanwhile, Brill is an under-the-radar RHP 8th/9th inning guy who was closing in Harrisburg and now can see if he can sustain his excellent numbers in AAA.

AA:

  • Promoted Jake Irvin from High-A
  • Promoted Zach Brzykcy from High-A

So, Irvin wasn’t nearly as dominant as Henry, but he still proved he had nothing left to prove at High-A. This is great news coming off of two lost seasons for him. Meanwhile, NDFA Brzycky continues climbing up the ladder for this team. Best $20k they’ve ever spent. Harrisburg also gets a RHP reliever named Edgar Garcia (at least for the next few days), who was pretty good for the last few years in Minnesota’s AAA team and who has MLB experience in three different seasons. Not really sure why he’s in AA, but Washington does this often with MLFAs it finds on the scrap heap

High-A:

  • Promoted Rodney Theopile from Low-A

In the most obviously needed move of all, Theopile takes his dominant low-A stats (9 starts 1.29 ERA, 62/11 K/BB in 48IP) to the next level. It really is amazing how many times we see a pitcher scuffle at a level one year then dominate it the next. Add another example here.

Low-A:

nothing yet; they just activated Mason Denaburg to join the rotation, and they have a couple of starters sitting on the DL, so they’ll seemingly refill from within for now.


New Look rotations per level:

  • MLB: Corbin, Lee, Adon, Grey Fedde (at least for now: when Stras comes back probably Lee to Long Relief or back to AA)
  • AAA My guess is Cavalli, Sharp, Tetreault, Henry, and Verrett, with Jefry Rodriguez going to swing man and Abbott continuing to not be a starter.
  • AA: Fuentes, Kilome, Reyes, Gausch, Henry, with Troop continuing to be excellent long man. Carrillo still hurt, Herrera just put on the DL.
  • High-A: Cate, Parker, Cuevas, Theopile, then two from Shuman and Merrill
  • Low-A: Denaburg, Cacheras, Lara, Collins and Rutledge. I guess. Rutledge is now floundering in Low-A while Henry and Cavalli now sit on the AAA roster. Wow.

Written by Todd Boss

June 4th, 2022 at 9:07 pm

CWS 2022 Field of 64 announced; Local team preview

10 comments

Its College Baseball post-season time, something we’ve followed in this space for years. Here’s a quick guide to the CWS 2022 post season.

First off, some resources for you.

Your top 8 seeds and favorites to make Omaha, in order:

  1. Tennessee (RPI = 1)
  2. Stanford (3)
  3. Oregon State (2)
  4. Virginia Tech (5)
  5. Texas A&M (22)
  6. Miami (15)
  7. Oklahoma State (10)
  8. ECU (8)

You can see that the committee stayed pretty true to RPI for the top 4 seeds, then clearly deviated from the RPIs for the rest of the top 8, which is going to leave some of these teams facing really difficult #2 seeds in their regioanls coming up. Here’s the rest of the top 10 by RPI and who they’re facing:

  • 4. UNC: hosting a regional but as the #10 national seed
  • 6. Wake Forest: not even a host, goes to Maryland as that region’s #2 seed
  • 7. Vanderbilt, this high due to #1 Strength of Schedule, goes to Oregon State as that region’s #2 seed.
  • 9. Maryland, who spent most of the season in the top 10 of the rankings, gets dropped to a #15 seed in the tournament and has to face Vanderbilt, who’s actually got a higher RPI.

So, this is going to lead us to some very, very good regionals and a ton of upsets. Here’s some comments on all our DC/MD/VA local teams in the tourney:

  • Virginia Tech: as noted, #4 national seed, has been ranked as high as #3 this year, strong RPI, dominated in the ACC (which was every bit as good as the SEC this year). For their troubles they get a very, very easy regional, with #2 Gonzaga coming west-to-east and only ranked #27 by RPI, the Ivy league champ Columbia, and Wright State. Couldn’t ask for a better regional.
  • Maryland: #15 National seed and given the #6 RPI team in Wake Forest coming out of a far better conference as their #2 seed. Apologies Terps fans; you’re likely losing this regional on home soil. I suppose the recent Lacrosse national championship makes up for it.
  • Liberty gets the #3 regional seed as an at-large in the UFlorida region, an interesting matchup for them since they went to Florida to open the season and won 2 of 3. They have to contend though with Oklahoma first, a very good Big12 team that nearly made a case to host itself. Probably the hardest regional
  • VCU won their conference, and get to head to UNC as that regional’s #3 seed. Uphil climb here, since UNC is better than their #10 national seed indicates.
  • Virginia entered the ACC tourney looking like a top 16 seed/regional host, but got blown out by Louisville to end any chance; that loss dumped their RPI down to #24 and now they’re the #2 seed in East Carolina’s regional. Which isn’t bad: ECU’s got a great RPI (#8) but they’re from a weaker conference and were just 2-7 against top 50 RPI teams all year. UVA has to really like their chances in this regional.

Other local teams who we thought had a chance: Old Dominion was one of the last teams cut, coming in at #40 on the RPI but who really needed to win their weaker conference to get in. The next best team in the area to not make the cut was William & Mary, with an RPI of #84 and who clearly needed to win the Colonial to make it.


Quick predictions for the 16 regionals, ordered by National Seed super Regional matchup

  • #1 Tennessee will get a challenge from ACC’s Georgia Tech, but should advance.
  • #16 Georgia Southern gets Notre Dame, the ACC finalist and a complete snub for hosting, along with tough Big12 team Texas Tech. A dogfight of a regional here.
  • #8 ECU as mentioned has UVA in its region and I think gets upset.
  • #9 Texas gets an intriguing #3 seed in Dallas Baptist but a weaker #2 seed in C-USA champion Louisiana Tech. Texas should advance here.
  • #5 Texas A&M inexplicably gets a #5 national seed despite an RPI in the 20s, but is let off the hook with a weaker regional that includes a TCU team that isn’t as good as its reputation and the Sunbelt champion Louisiana (aka Louisiana-Lafayette).
  • #12 Louisville, who will be a tough out, gets a couple of cold weather teams in its regional and should advance
  • #4 Virginia Tech as discussed above gets a cake-walk of a Regional, all things considered.
  • #13 Florida gets, as discussed, both Liberty and Oklahoma, one of which has beaten them this season and the other which can beat them. Florida went just 11-17 against top 50 opponents this year despite its ranking and RPI, and I think they get beat. A deep regional.
  • #3 Oregon State cannot be happy seeing Vanderbilt in their regional; upset watch here.
  • #14 Auburn will, like nearly every SEC team, have to contend with an ACC team in Florida State but won’t be worried about a weaker Pac12 team in UCLA.
  • #6 Miami will have fun with two perennial powers in Arizona and Ole Miss, but both of these similarly ranked RPI teams probably cancel themselves out
  • #11 Southern Miss gets LSU and a tricky Kennesaw State team. Upset watch here.
  • #7 Oklahoma State had to be happy to see Grand Canyon as its #2, even if a recent national champion Arkansas is in here as #3.
  • #10 UNC gets a relatively easy draw with Georgia and VCU. UNC played top-50 ranked opponents no less than 36 times out of 57 games, good for the #2 hardest schedule this year behind Vandy.
  • #2 Stanford, who went 21-9 in the PAC12 but was just 10-9 against top 50 teams, nonetheless won’t be threatened by its regional but could be in trouble in the supers.
  • #15 Maryland has to deal with Wake Forest and one of the best cold-weather teams in Uconn, and seems like an upset in the making.

Predictions:

  • #1 Tennessee
  • Notre Dame
  • UVA
  • #9 Texas
  • #5 Texas A&M
  • #12 Louisville
  • #4 Virginia Tech
  • Oklahoma
  • Vanderbilt
  • #14 Auburn
  • #6 Miami
  • LSU
  • #7 Oklahoma State
  • #10 UNC
  • #2 Stanford
  • Wake Forest

Super-Early Omaha predictions:

  • #1 Tennessee
  • #9 Texas
  • #12 Louisville
  • Oklahoma
  • #6 Miami
  • #7 Oklahoma State
  • #10 UNC
  • #2 Stanford

Prospect Watch. Who are the top ranked college prospects to look for? Borrowing from the mock drafts and ranking boards, here’s some big names in play for first round action who are in the CWS:

  • Georgia Tech’s C Kevin Parada, who many mock drafters have going to the Nats at #5, is in Tennessee to play (and lose to) the #1 team.
  • Tennessee is led by two OF 1st round talents in Jordan Beck, a mid-1st rounder who is tooled up, has a ton of power and can play CF, and the guy who actually IS playing CF for them in Drew Gilbert, a high-contact hitter who can also pitch.
  • Arizona’s C Daniel Susac is in action but likely goes home early.
  • Virginia Tech is led by top 15 candidate OF Gavin Cross
  • LSU’s top player is a 1st round projection in Jacob Berry, but he’s held back by lack of position and defensive liability.
  • Texas Tech has a winnable #16 seed region with their star player and 1st rounder Jace Jung, whos brother Josh Jung was a top 10 pick in 2019.
  • Florida’s #1 starter at the beginning of the year was LHP Hunter Barco, but he went down with Tommy John and isn’t pitching (but still might be a 1st rounder).
  • Florida’s best hitting prospect is likely OF Sterlin Thompson, who will be a draft-eligible sophomore with a big bat.
  • Oklahoma State’s #1 starter is RHP Justin Campbell, a likely back of the first rounder
  • Gonzaga has a top starter in Gabriel Hughes, with a 33% strikeout rate. Should make for a fun outing in his regional when he goes.

Written by Todd Boss

May 31st, 2022 at 10:07 am

Kiley McDaniel/ESPN Nats 2022 Prospect lists

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We’re a bit deep into the season to do prospect list reviews … but somehow I missed the ESPN Insider Kiley McDaniel‘s prospect list release. That’s directly do to the fact that ESPN.com eliminated their RSS feeds for their writers and make it nearly impossible to keep up with their new content unless (of course) you go to their website daily. Which of course I don’t have time to do.

So, I noticed I was missing a near-annual list from this leading pundit, and went and found it. Released March 23rd, 2022. I’m pretty sure its behind ESPN insider’s paywall, so apologies if you cannot see the above.

McDaniel is definitely an international expert, and he’s definitely heavier on the ceiling than the floor, especially with younger players. So keep that in mind when you see 19yr olds perhaps a bit higher than other, more “sure thing” players.

Here’s his full list:

Kiley RankLast NameFirst NamePosition
1RuizKeibertC
2HouseBradySS/3B
3CavalliCadeRHP (Starter)
4HenryColeRHP (Starter)
5LaraAndryRHP (Starter)
6RutledgeJacksonRHP (Starter)
7AdonJoanRHP (Starter)
8LileDaylenOF (CF)
9VaqueroCristianOF (CF)
10CruzArmandoSS
11AntunaYaselSS/OF (Corner)
12CarrilloGerardoRHP (Starter)
13CroninMattLHP (Reliever)
14CateTimLHP (Starter)
15RamirezAldoRHP (Starter)
16ParkerMitchellLHP (Starter)
17WhiteT.J.OF (Corner)
18De La RosaJeremyOF (Corner)
19InfanteSamuelSS
20RomeroSethLHP (Starter)
21SaenzDustinLHP (Starter)
22DenaburgMasonRHP (Starter)
23BoissiereBrandenOF (Corner)
24QuintanaRoismarOF (CF)
25BrzykcyZachRHP (Reliever)
26FoxLuciusSS
27CluffJacksonSS
28LeeEvanLHP (Starter)
29MillasDrewC
30CaseyDonovanOF (Corner)
31PinedaIsraelC
32BarleyJordySS

Lets talk about the players one by one who are notable for where he had them ranked:

  • Ruiz is “eligible” on his list so he’s #1.
  • McDaniel is one of the few pundits to put House over Cavalli.
  • He remains very high on Rutledge, having him #6 in our system.
  • He’s easily the high man on Daylen Lile, loved him as a prospect last year as one of the best “pure hitters” in the draft. We didn’t see that in last year’s FCL though, so this is definitely a ranking based on faith of the scouting report.
  • He’s dinged Antuna down to #11, which I think is fair. This is the same Antuna who is STILL not hitting (current high-A slash line for 2022: .216/.382/.715. He now has hit 1,000 career pro at bats and has a career slash line of .236/.324/.364. At some point, pundits and front office execs are going to have to acknowledge the facts on him.
  • He’s lower on Carrillo than most, but only a few slots.
  • He’s quite high on T.J. White as compared to other shops, some of whom didn’t even rank him in their top 30 (Baseball America). So far in 2022, as an 18yr old he’s slashing .250/.333/.422 in a league where the pitchers are on average 3.5 years older than him. Wow.
  • He remains somewhat hopeful on Seth Romero, having him ranked 20th.
  • He’s one of the few to rank Dustin Saenz, having him 21st and describing him as “a better-than-the-sum-of-his-parts squatty lefty with an above-average heater and good feel who could travel the Parker path to a backend rotation outcome.
  • He also is one of the few to rate Boissiere, having him ranked 23rd.
  • He’s quite low in comparison on players like Cluff and Casey, perhaps because he views them as org pieces and not stars.

Notable players not in his top 32

  • No Holden Powell … but nobody has him ranked this year with his injuries.
  • no Daniel Marte; most other shops at least had him in their 20s.
  • No Riley Adams, who would have been eligible here if Ruiz was.
  • No Tres Barrera or any other veteran minor league catcher.

conclusion: I like this ranking, a lot. He has House over Cavalli, he has Henry #4 and of Henry says, “Henry is the consensus fourth prospect in this system with a lot of differing opinions beyond that. After an up-and-down time with raw stuff in college, he’s now back to sitting 94-96 mph with an above average-to-plus hook, improving changeup and starter traits. He should be in Double-A this year and is a safer bet for rotation value than Cavalli, but with a little less upside.

Written by Todd Boss

May 26th, 2022 at 8:27 am

Posted in Prospects

Random Thoughts on the Minors Today

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Maybe Tetreault is someone we should be keeping more of an eye on as a potential MLB call-up? Photo Federal Baseball

So, spurred on by an email from a fan, I did some “scouting the stat line” today and came up with the following observations (stats are as of yesterday if quoted; all stats available at milb.com, or if you’d like use my handy “Cheat Sheet” of websites here to directly surf to all the relevant minor league pages.

In AAA Rochester:

  • I’m really wondering why Luis Garcia is still in AAA with an OPS of nearly 1.000 while the MLB team continues to give at-bats to Escobar and Strange-Gordon
  • Glad to see Stevenson actually hitting. But there’s nowhere for him to go. We have no trade-able OFs at the deadline, so Stevenson seems blocked. I would say “trade him” but … MLB teams can read baseball-reference.com and know what he did in the majors.
  • Meneses really powering the ball; too bad he’s 30.  Maybe they call him up to play 1B after they trade Bell at the deadline. He could be the next Yadiel Hernandez for this team.
  • Most effective Starter in AAA? Prospect after-thought Jackson Tetreault, who was not on one single prospect ranking top 30 anywhere for this team this past off-season. The scouting reports on Tetreault explain why he’s not rated: he has mid 90s FB, but fringe-average secondary pitches and historically has struggled with control. However, 2021 and 2022 so far has seen much lower walk rates, so maybe this is found gold.
  • What the heck is going on with Cavalli??
  • Why did the team send down Francisco Perez? Oh because he couldn’t find the plate (6 walks in 4 1/3 innings).
  • Our old friend Tyler Clippard can’t find the plate either: 13 walks in 17 innings. I wonder how long he’ll ride the bus in AAA after so many years in the majors before he pulls a Jayson Werth and walks away.

In AA Harrisburg:

  • The (qualified) team leader in OPS right now is Justin Connell. Another prospect afterthought, he’s only 23 (he turned 23 in March) after being an 11th rounder out of HS (American Heritage … the same baseball factory HS that gave this team Adrien Nieto way back in 2008 and which had had dozens of players drafted in the last 20 years). A 23yr old with an .893 OPS in AA should be notable; he’s a full year younger than the average age in that league. Maybe a diamond in the rough?
  • Dondrei Hubbard has come out of the gate hot, hitting .375 while bouncing around the corner OF spots. He’s 27, has almost no state-side experience, is too old for AA … can he keep this up? He is listed as an infielder but has been doing nothing but outfield; seems like he has some positional flexibility.
  • Can we stretch out Cole Henry, please? Why did he get scratched from his last start? Please don’t say injury please don’t say injury.
  • Evan Lee is living up to his 40-man selection so far.
  • Matt Cronin looks like he’s back. Maybe he’s a bullpen option later this year for the Nats, especially since we can’t seem to keep lefty relievers on the active roster.
  • I like what Alex Troop can do for the team; 9 games, 23 innings, spot starts and effective long relief, good numbers. Maybe he should be getting longer looks, you know, like in the rotation instead of some 27yr old career minor leaguer like Ronald Herrera?

In High-A Wilmington…

  • Drew Mendoza has been powering the ball lately, with healthy slash lines and a team leading OPS figure among qualified hitters. Would really like to see him doing this in AA. I’m guessing he’ll get another shot at AA soon.
  • Antuna: hitting .217. At what point do we stop making excuses for this guy and free up the 40-man space he’s been sitting on for two years needlessly? Do we have to wait for him to repeat High-A again in 2023 and burn his last option (probably). It seems like every time he gets criticized, someone’s like, “oh but he was really good for 3 weeks last June” or “well he’s switching positions so he’s not as focused.” At some point you admit you made a mistake with a prospect and cut bait (ahem, Seth Romero).
  • Wow: Gage Canning is just 3 for 42 since being demoted. And some people thought he was a prospect?
  • Jordy Barley, hitting just .152. He was the primary prospect trade bounty for Daniel Hudson; would have hoped for a bit more. Yeah he’s fast; can’t steal first base (for now; they’re experimenting with this rule in the Indy leagues).
  • Ok, I’m happy Jake Irvin can look awesome in 3 inning stints; lets get him stretched out.
  • Seth Shuman needs to get bumped up. He’s repeating the level, was good at it last year, is good at it now.
  • Love what i’m seeing from Mitchell Parker. This team has a ton of sneaky good lefty starter prospects.
  • Tyler Yankowsky: 19Ks, zero walks in 16 innings. Can’t get much better than that.

In Low-A Fredericksburg…

  • Brady House is lighting it up … and he’s not even the best hitter on the team right now. That’d be ..
  • Jeremy De La Rosa, who was a top 5 prospect last year for this team until he hit .209 in Low-A as a 19 yr old in 2021. Now he’s a much older 20-yr old, playing exclusive CF and has 6 homers in 32 games to contribute to a .925 OPS. Nice.
  • Sammy Infante leads the team in homers. That’s good to see from a guy who a lot of people criticized upon his drafting. Could use a better BA.
  • Its no wonder this team is in first place; half the team has an OPS of 800 or more. They’re all hitting in the Carolina league.
  • Rodney Theopile: wow. Talk about coming out of nowhere; last year in 22 Low-A starts he had an ERA of 5.56. This year in his first 6 starts he has an ERA of 0.82. 48/5 K/BB.
  • Andrew Alvarez: 35 Ks in 21 innings .. amazing he doesn’t have better peripherals.
  • Jackson Rutledge, aka the guy who some people thought was better than Cavalli … 4IP, 8 hits, 3 walks … and he hasn’t pitched in a week with his start getting skipped over. Not much good here.

In XST/DSL … kind of curious to see the following once they start playing. I believe they start June 6th so we’re close.

  • Daylen Lile; our 2021 2nd rounder who a lot of scouts really liked. But he just had TJ surgery, so I’m not sure if that knocks him out for all of 2022. It probably does.
  • Armando Cruz, our big money 2021 IFA signing. Probably in DSL.
  • Aldo Ramirez, a significant prospect we acquired for Kyle Schwarber. Hurt his elbow this spring, maybe he’ll be ok for short season.
  • Mason Denaburg: does he have anything?
  • Roismar Quintana: this might be a major prospect for us.
  • Cristian Vaquero, our big money 2022 IFA signing, probably heading for DSL.

Written by Todd Boss

May 20th, 2022 at 8:38 am

Too Old for the level Revisited

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Brady House is certainly NOT too old for his level. Photo via primetimesportstalk.com

One of the key points in evaluating minor league prospects (or any amateur prospect really) is the consideration of their age in relation to their level. We constantly see added on to the evaluation of a player’s stellar performance at a certain level the caveat of, ” … but he’s old for the level.”

I did a deep dive on this back in 2011, trying to compare the rules of thumb advertised by expert minor league evaluator John Sickels versus our own observations. Now, 10 years on, with evolutions of player development, minor league consolidation, the removal of an entire Short-A level, and the compressing of the lower ranks of the minors, I thought i’d revisit it.

My working guesses before going in and looking at the data are:

  • The compression of the minors will mean that there will be an older skew of players now in Low-A.
  • Hitters will generally be younger than Pitchers, since we have such a prevalence of injuries in the sport which delays pitcher development.
  • the lost Covid year will add at least a half a season or more, especially to pitchers who got hurt at the wrong time (see Irvin, Jake below)

My methodology was to grab the entire list of players with non-trivial stats (meant to remove rehab assignments that would skew the average ages) from the four main full season levels, and grab average ages. Unfortunately fangraphs only lists the “age” and not the birthday for minor leaguers, so this is a bit of an estimate (and thus I couldn’t get meaningful quartile/median figures). I wasn’t willing to scrape dozens of rosters from milb.com to get actual birthdays … so this will have to do. I also only grabbed the leagues where Nats have affiliates; otherwise this would have been 3x the spreadsheet work. I think its a safe assumption that the average age of the players in the Eastern AA league is roughly the same as the Southern AA league.

To start, here was the old Sickels “rules of thumb” for age expectations in the four full season leagues:

  • AAA: Typical Age range is 23-24.  Age 25 depends.  26+ is old
  • AA: 22-23.  24 depends.  25+ is old
  • High-A: 20-22.  23 depends.  24+ is old
  • Low-A: 19-21.  22 depends.  23+ is old

This already seems way low, especially in AAA, where we now know that teams store tons of 4-A 40-man roster guys who will press the issue. But we’ll get to that.


Here’s 2021 full season average age analysis for Hitters with > 30Abs for the year:

  • AAA Hitter Avg Age:  26.53801
  • AA Hitter Avg Age:  24.11027
  • High-A Hitter Avg Age:  22.92832
  • Low-A Hitter Avg Age:  21.40741

and here’s fy2022 so far for hitters with > 30ABs this season:

  • AAA Hitter Avg Age:  26.599
  • AA Hitter Avg Age:  24.169
  • High-A Hitter Avg Age:  22.705
  • Low-A Hitter Avg Age:  20.975

And here’s a bit of a deeper dive into the 2022 hitter data, with quartiles shown:

 MeanYoungest0.25Median0.75Oldest
Low-A Hitter Avg Age: 20.9751552795031820212225
High-A Hitter Avg Age: 22.7046979865771922232427
AA Hitter Avg Age: 24.1689189189192023242533
AAA Hitter Avg Age: 26.5985130111522225262834

So, what are we seeing in Hitters?

  • In Low-A for Hitters, we’re seeing a bit of an inflation of ages from the old rule of thumb, with the 25%-75% quartile range going from 20-22, whereas before it was 19-21.
  • There’s nobody in Low-A right now younger than 18 and you can count on one hand those who are 18. Washington’s T.J. White is one of them. Makes sense; you draft a HS kid and they’re going to generally start in the complex league, and only if they’re stellar will they make the next year’s low-A team … and White was really young for his class out of HS.
  • The average age for high-A hitters jumps more than a year and a half from the Low-A average. interesting. Does this imply that it’s going to take kids a year and a half to get out of low-A now? This would seem to support the argument that we could really use another level (you know, something like Short-A?)
  • The Average age for AA hitters jumps up another year and a half from High-A, showing that the old rules of thumb are now completely antiquated. The average age in AA for hitters is now north of 24.
  • AAA average age is pretty useless in aggregate because of its status as a “spare parts” league. If you’re a prospect rising the ranks (like Cade Cavalli) there’s some analytical value to seeing just how young someone is as compared to the average age, but otherwise the prospects generally are in AA or below.

Lets look at pitchers.

Here’s 2021 full season average age analysis for Pitchers with > 20IP for the year:

  • AAA Pitcher Avg Age:  26.90933
  • AA Pitcher Avg Age:  24.76211
  • High-A Pitcher Avg Age:  23.28326
  • Low-A pitcher Avg Age:  21.93048

and here’s fy2022 so far for Pitchers with > 10IP so far this season:

  • AAA Pitcher Avg Age:  27.33068
  • AA Pitcher Avg Age:  24.5873
  • High-A Pitcher Avg Age:  23.23485
  • Low-A pitcher Avg Age:  22.03472

And here’s a bit of a deeper dive into the 2022 Pitcher data, with quartiles shown:

 AverageYoungest0.25Median0.75Oldest
Low-A pitcher Avg Age: 22.0347222222221921222329
High-A Pitcher Avg Age: 23.2348484848482022232426
AA Pitcher Avg Age: 24.587301587302212324.52530
AAA Pitcher Avg Age: 27.3306772908372225272937

So, what are we seeing in Pitchers, as compared to Hitters?

  • Right now, the fy2022 data on just a few weeks is almost identical to the full season fy2021 data, which shows that teams have already made consistent adjustments to the loss of Short-A.
  • Low-A pitchers are on average a full year older than the hitters at the level, and the 25%-75% quartile range is also a full year older.
  • The age difference is less pronounced in High-A and AA: high-A pitchers are on average a half a year older, while AA pitchers are on average 3-4 months older than the pitchers.
  • AAA goes back to half a year older between hitters and pitchers, but again these numbers are greatly skewed (especially on the pitcher side) by the large number of veteran arms in their late 20s/early 30s giving it one more shot (our own AAA team has more than a few).

So, what’s our new “rules of thumb” for being “too old for the level?” I think it has to adjust from the old days.

  • AAA: Typical Age range is 25-28.  A prospect at the age of 26 is iffy. 27+ is considered old for the level (with all the above AAA caveats). However, if you’re 27 and in AAA, you’re already passed through rule-5 draft, you’re probably pretty close to a 6-year MLFA and you’re not a “prospect” any more anyway. So these rules of thumb really don’t apply to AAA.
  • AA: typical age range is 23-25.  A prospect at 25 is iffy. 26+ is old for the level.
  • High-A: 22-24.  24 depends.  25+ is old
  • Low-A Hitters: 20-22 range, 23 depends, 24+ is old
  • Low-A Pitchers: 21-23 range, 24 depends, 24+ is old

Now, looking at our new rules of thumb, lets do a quick run-through of our notable prospects per team, and comment as to their relative age. This is not a comprehensive list of every player on the roster; just those “top players” who have appeared on prospect ranking lists lately.

  • Frederick’s Low-A Hitter Prospects: House (19), Infante (21), De La Rosa (20), White (18), Boissiere (22): they’re all within the appropriate range right now. Nobody is “too old” here. House and especially White are really young for the league. Boissiere is the oldest prospect here, and he’s repeating the level after struggling in his draft year/age 21 season. Nothing to worry about yet. We do have a couple of “too old” for the level players in Martina and Millas, but they just promoted Millas up as I was writing this draft.
  • Frederick’s Low-A Pitcher Prospects: Lara (19), Rutledge (23), Saenz (23): Lara obviously is young, while Rutledge is pushing the range of acceptability, especially for such a high draft pick and his highly visible failings so far. Saenz is also 23, along with some newer additions like Glavine and Schoff, both senior signs in their first full year of pro ball. While we’re all concerned about the fact that Rutledge can’t find the plate, the rest of these guys are not yet in the “too old” category, but are a little concerning.
  • Wilmington’s High-A Hitter prospects: Antuna (22), Pineda (22), Barley (22), Mendoza (24). So, despite our continual angst about Antuna’s progress, he’s still within the 75% quartile range for age in the league at age 22. He won’t turn 23 until October. His bigger problem is that the team put him on the 40-man way, way too early, and now he’s burned 2 options. Mendoza is in the “depends” category and we all know why: he failed at AA, got demoted last year, and has zero homers through 25 games in 2022 despite basically being a DH at this point.
  • Wilmington’s High-A Pitcher prospects: Parker (22), Brzycky (22), Shuman (24), Irvin (25). So, Parker and NDFA Brzycky are both actually young for High-A. Shuman is in the iffy range; he was excellent for Oakland’s High-A team, then was awful for us in 2021, earning himself a return trip to Wilmington in 2022 … but he’s been pretty solid so far. My guess is that he earns a promotion soon. Meanwhile, we now know that Irvin is way too old for High-A, but we also know why: he missed two full years of throwing with Covid and TJ. He’s also been basically unhittable in High-A in five starts and likely gets promoted within a few weeks.
  • Harrisburg’s AA Hitter prospects: Cluff (25), Alu (25), Harrison (25). We don’t have a lot of hitter prospects in AA; even these three guys are challenging the definition of “prospect.” Cluff is really the only guy who gets any industry-wide speculation. All three are 25, putting them all in the “iffy” category anyway. Cluff and Harrison are really struggling this year. Alu just turned 25 last month, and is hitting well in 2022, but has little prospect buzz.
  • Harrisburg’s AA Pitcher prospects: Henry (22), Carrillo (23), Cronin (24), Cate (24), Evan Lee (25). So, Henry is quite young for AA and is lighting it up, a great sign. Cronin and Cate are still “ok” for the level at this point, even if Cate struggled so badly last year. Lee is already “iffy” even though he just got put on the 40-man, but his AA performance so far has been stellar and he should get pushed up soon. Nobody “too old” here who’s a prospect. We do have several arms in AA who are way too old to be there (Herrera, Brill, Andrew Lee)
  • Rochester AAA Hitter prospects: Casey (26), Barrera (27). We don’t have a lot of prospects in AAA right now. Casey is “iffy” as a prospect based on age, but he’s a banner child for the Covid effect; he lost 2020 after earning a promotion to AA in 2019 at age 23; then he loses his age 24 season, solves AA at age 25 but has struggled in AAA ever since. So, its possible this is his peak. Meanwhile, we know Barrera is too old for AAA, and probably too old to be a “prospect” at this point, but he’s also a catcher on the 40-man roster and is next in line if Ruiz/Adams gets hurt. So he falls into the “AAA as spare parts” league category.
  • Rochester AAA Pitcher prospects: Cavalli (23), Seth Romero (26). As with hitters … our AAA is not really a place where we bring up our prospects. Cavalli at 23 is one of the youngest pitchers in AAA right now (only 7 arms in the International League are 23 or younger, most of them major prospects whose names you already know). Romero at 26 is “iffy” as a prospect, which makes me laugh to write since he’s been “iffy” as a prospect since the moment he was kicked off his college team. I still can’t quite believe he’s in the employ of the team, and it should make you sick that he was called up to then be put on the major league 60-day DL, thus meaning he’s earning MLB salary this year.

Conclusions? the Nats are generally keeping their prospects in the appropriate level, and the “too old for the level” iffy considerations all have easy-to-see explanations.

Written by Todd Boss

May 12th, 2022 at 9:45 am

Baseball America “updates” its Nats top 30 and 1st week impressions

23 comments

So, BA issued an “update” to its top 30 prospect lists for teams this week.

See https://www.baseballamerica.com/teams/1012/washington-nationals/organizational/ for our “new” list.

per BA’s site, this update is… “With the minor league season beginning, we have updated our Top 30 prospect rankings for every major league club. These new rankings now include international players from the current signing class that opened on Jan. 15, with additional player movement based on new looks, information and injuries.”

BA continues to ignore MLB service time and keeps including prospects who have not hit AB/IP thresholds even though they’ve sat on the active roster long enough to exhaust rookie eligibility .. which means that they’ve kept in particular Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams eligible, as literally no other shop has done.

So what changed between this ranking and the last one (to which I reacted here?).

  • They added Jan 2022 IFA signing Cristian Vaquero at #5.
  • ….. and thats it.

No adjustments for Antuna moving to the outfield, for Lile being out for the season, for Adon making the MLB rotation, nothing else.


So, pretty much a nothing burger of an update. But, thought i’d put a placeholder here to talk about the starts we’re seeing with the MLB club through the first week.

Talking about hitters:

  • Good, as expected: Soto, Bell, Ruiz
  • Good, unexpectedly: Franco, YHernandez (has he now won a starting job?)
  • Bad, as expected: Robles (why is he still in the majors?), Escobar
  • Bad, unexpectedly: Cruz, Thomas

Robles starts the season 0-17 and necessitates the callup of prospect OF Casey. Lane Thomas hasn’t been much better. But maybe we should just frigging play Yadiel Hernandez until he stops hitting? I mean, the dude hit last year, he’s hitting this year … why not just play the guy?

Pitchers? Phew, hide your eyes.

  • Good, as expected: … i’m not sure anyone is living up to their expectations. Rainey maybe? Arano. Fedde maybe.
  • Good, unexpectedly: Rogers, Doolittle
  • Bad, as expected: Corbin, ASanchez (by going straight to the DL), Adon, Voth
  • Bad, unexpectedly: not sure anyone qualifies here.

Lets be honest, i went into this season looking at this pitching staff with very little expectation. Our opening day rotation consisted of

  • a 9-figure contract debacle who hasn’t performed in 2 years in Corbin.
  • A option-less 5+ ERA starter who should have been non-tendered last offseason in Fedde
  • a rookie who has been all hype and no performance as of yet in Grey
  • Another rookie with one MLB start who had, frankly, uninspiring 2021 MILB numbers and who should be in AAA in Adon
  • A frigging NRI has-been who I can’t believe they took over Rogers or Espino in Anibel Sanchez.

What have see seen so far? Adon: shelled in 2 starts. Corbin? Shelled in 2 starts. Sanchez? hurt before he makes a start … and then lo and behold Rogers comes up and gives the Nats their best start so far (shocker!). Grey? Surprisingly decent so far. And Fedde? Shocker he was effective in his first start. Lets see how long that lasts.

Honestly, i’m shocked we’re 3-5 right now with a team ERA right now of 5.91. 5.91 isn’t getting the donuts made.


Long season ahead.

Written by Todd Boss

April 15th, 2022 at 9:41 am